Review: Our World Is Ended. (Nintendo Switch)
- Release Date (NA): April 18, 2019
- Release Date (EU): April 18, 2019
- Release Date (JP): February 28, 2019
- Publisher: PQube
- Developer: Red Entertainment
- Genres: Adventure, Visual Novel
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
- Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Our World Is Ended. (Judgement 7 in Japan) is a visual novel video game released for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, and Nintendo Switch. A group of quirky video game developers find themselves in a strange situation after their leader’s newest AR device malfunctions. Will they be able to get out of this safely or will there be consequences to pay?
Gameplay and Controls
If you’ve only played on Nintendo consoles, you’ll notice something odd right away as the A and B buttons are swapped, like what happened with the Switch version of Dark Souls: Remastered Edition that was released months ago. Like the former title, you’re able to change the function of almost every button available, but these changes will only affect the gameplay portion of it.
The default controls are as follows:
|A||Hides the dialogue to get a better view of what’s on-screen. It’s perfect for viewing CGs and taking textless screenshots.|
|B||Confirm and advance dialogue.|
|L/R||Quick Save and Quick Load. These saves aren’t permanent and any future quick save will overwrite the previous one.|
|ZL/ZR||Skip and Auto mode. By default, you’re only able to skip previously seen text and it’ll stop skipping as soon as any dialogue choices show up. This behavior can be changed from the options menu. (Auto mode is not affected by this.)|
|+/-||Skip to next scene and Open Menu. The latter does the same as the X button, except it can’t be changed.|
|D-pad Up||Open Backlog|
|D-pad Down/Left/Right/Y||No function set. These can be set to any of the previously mentioned functions.|
|D-pad/Left Stick||Navigate menus and choices. This function can’t be changed|
Gameplay mostly consists of reading hours upon hours of text and making choices every now and then that will change the dialogue and lead you toward one of eight possible endings. Dialogue selections are divided into two formats: a choice list and Selection of Soul (SOS). Everyone should be familiar with the former, as it’s the format used in most games, but the latter is something else. During an SOS section, you have a time limit as choices will scroll from one end of the screen to the next (like what you’d see during a Nico Nico Douga stream). Once these choices finish scrolling out of view they’ll be gone for good.
Using the backlog allows you to view previous messages, listen to their respective voice-overs, and jump back to any point of the story that is shown there. Up to 100 messages are saved at a time, each being replaced automatically whenever new dialogue is shown. Just like loading saves, if you decide to jump back to a previous point in the story the entire backlog will be cleared.
Unlike some visual novels, there are absolutely no tutorials during the story; it’s recommended that you give the help section a good read before starting the game.
The latest in AR technology
The story begins with the protagonist, Reiji Gozen, taking an experimental AR headset out for a test run in the city of Asakusa under the orders of his boss, Owari Sekai. This device, titled NWG (New World Goggles), allows the wearer to experience an incredibly immersive version of AR that can easily manipulate anything the wearer is viewing. Unfortunately, most of the voice commands to operate it are either lewd or cringey one-liners that he’s forced to shout in public. Accompanied and cheered on by his friend, Yuno Hayase, they begin to attract unwarranted attention from passerby and the police. After one humiliating session of tests is over, Owari rewards him by activating the main feature of the device and manipulates his surroundings into images of women wearing swimsuits, which also made his friend wear one from his perspective.
Shortly after, his headset begins to malfunction and the display turns pitch black, cutting him off from contact with the others in the process. Once he’s able to see again, he finds himself in a ruined version of the city with his colleagues chained up high against a building and a mysterious woman who warns him that the world will soon begin. After hearing this, he’s brought back into the real world and attempts to explain to everyone currently present about what had just occurred to him; they just assume that he’s delusional because of a heatstroke he had suffered earlier that day. Because of this, Owari decides to end the test run and have them both return to their workplace to do maintenance on headset and figure out what went wrong.
After heading back to their workplace, the player is briefed on their team name, what they do for a living, and soon introduced to the rest of Reiji’s colleagues. The team is called Judgement 7 (J7), a small game development group/office that’s made up of seven members. Their focus consists of developing mobile games that the main public tends to dislike due to how nonsensical they are. It’s also revealed that some of them call each other by their developer name instead of their actual one.
|Reiji Gozen||The protagonist of this story. He’s a part-time director at Judgement 7, though he’s only officially known as an assistant director, meaning that he’s pretty much bossed around by everyone 24/7. He’s regarded as being an extremely plain person and a light novel protagonist.|
|Yuno Hayase||A rather airheaded girl who’s the younger sister of Asano Hayase. She’s another part-timer at Judgement 7, though she’s been working with them longer than Reiji. Having the position of assistant means that she’s usually doing odd jobs for everyone, though most of them involve fixing whatever mess her sister has made.|
|Owari Sekai||An excellent, yet extremely perverted, programmer and the leader of Judgement 7. He handles programming their video games and rambling lewd ideas whenever he gets the chance. Despite what he might say, he practically has no boundaries, as long as it doesn’t involve men.|
|Iruka No.2||A delusional planner who often loses himself in his fantasies. He’s in charge of planning the script of the setting and scenario for each game. Regarded by everyone as a manchild, he tends to scream obnoxiously loud most of the time and attempt to involve everyone in his roleplaying.|
|Natsumi Yuki||A loner who tends to shut herself off from the world and others. Being the art designer of the group, she tends to draw everything in a style that suits her tastes instead of what’s being asked of her. She calls herself the Dark Angel of Chaos.|
|Asano Hayase||A short-tempered girl who’s the older sister of Yuno Hayase. Despite being tone deaf, she’s the sound designer of the group. Her sister always fixes her music for her. She likes to get drunk and is a shotacon.|
|Tatiana||A childish middle schooler who happens to be the 2nd programmer or Judgement 7. Even though she’s a prodigy, she still acts like a kid her age.|
After many failed attempts he heads back to J7’s office in hopes that the rest of his colleagues can help him make sense of things as they also try to leave the town through various exits to no avail. Exhausted from running around all night, they head back to the office and come to the realization that this weird phenomenon works the same way an overworld map does in old RPG games, which would simply warp the player to the opposite end of the map upon crossing the edge. This isn’t the only weird thing going on though, as there’s absolutely no one else besides them in Asakusa, no headlines about it on TV, and not even a single news article or discussion about it online. To make things even weirder, a couple of characters from the video games they’ve made suddenly come to life. Finally accepting that they’re indeed in a virtual world they gather their resolve to try and find a way out in the most ridiculous way possible.
Forging bonds while getting sidetracked
As the story progresses, you’ll learn more about the main cast and help them get over some of their issues both in the real world and virtual world while trying to find out what the truth behind the virtual world is. Whenever you bond with one of them their portrait will show up on the right side of the menu screen. Up to 3 characters are shown at a time, giving you an extremely vague idea of which characters currently like you the most. Once you’ve unlocked their respective ending their expression will change. Unfortunately, there’s no bar nor any sort of in-depth menu to track your progress. The game consists of 16 chapters and a prologue, which took me around 50 hours to finish.
The plot started to get interesting once a more serious tone began to take place, but of course, the game would shortly after constantly remind me about someone’s breasts or how many times they’d try to get away with an underage sexual joke. (As Reiji has asked multiple times, why hasn’t Owari been arrested already?) In comparison, other series such as Higurashi, Umineko, Fate, and even Phoenix Wright know how to keep their comedy and jokes in check without it disrupting the flow of the story and stalling the plot progression for hours on end, something which Our World Is Ended is terrible at accomplishing.
Despite the game’s rating, the fan-service is mostly tame and will probably be a big letdown for those who enjoy visual novels with borderline or outright smut. (Especially when compared with the likes of Danganronpa and Meltyblood's very own Tsukihime visual novel.) I felt like the M rating was due to most of the writing and certain voice-overs in the game, otherwise they could have (just barely) gotten away with a T rating for it.
The CG for backgrounds illustrations and certain events are wonderfully done, full of soft colors and soft glowing splatters all around. Meanwhile, some of the soundtrack is rather catchy, yet most of it is cheesy and rather forgettable. It doesn’t help that some of the sound effects sound cheap such as from gunshots that sound like party poppers and sandy footsteps sounding like someone who’s either dragging their feet or stomping around, which ends up muffling the voice-overs.
Upon clearing the game you’ll finally have access to the Gallery menu, where you can view any unlocked CGs and listen to the soundtrack of the game, and the Special menu, which lets you check which endings you’ve unlocked and view their associated content. Since I ended up getting the normal ending, there were many CGs (and some of their variants) that weren’t unlocked right away nor did I find any addition content in the Special menu.
Problems with the game
If you’re looking for a serious story about VR becoming a fully immersive parallel world, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Most of the game is either spent seeing the rest of the J7 team ganging up on Reiji and making him go through hell or having some lewd situation pop up because it’s convenient, which often comes out of the blue and sidetracks whatever little plot progression was even going on. The tone of the game tends to do a 180 pretty often, which makes the whole thing feel like a poor attempt of an isekai parody.
The game’s script is full of issues, ranging from typos to wrong use of punctuation marks, missing words, malapropism constantly in similar sentences, or even the wrong tense at times. Sometimes they even change a character’s name altogether for no apparent reason whatsoever (ie. Erorie = Erolie, Velovelos = Tongueru; these two examples happened near the end of the story). The first time I ran into this I quickly dismissed it, seeing as some previous visual novel games I’ve played (ie. Ace Attorney series) had the occasional one-off typo, but I just couldn’t ignore it here with how often it was happening after it first popped up during the second chapter. The text hangs for a couple of seconds during certain parts of the game, which sometimes affects the lip sync of the dialogue sprites. This kept happening right up to the end of the game (including the credits).
Auto mode can quickly become annoying when going through voiceless dialogue sections as the text will only be on-screen for about 2-3 seconds before it advances to the next line. While the text speed can be changed in the options menu to remedy this, it’ll also affect voiced sections where the default text speed would usually pair up well with the length each voice-over has.
Dialogue sprites sometimes begin moving their lips many seconds before the voice-overs start playing and may stay doing so even when the characters have finished speaking. The poses and expressions for the characters are rather limited too, which are around 1-3 static poses with a handful (or less) of expressions for them. In most visual novels, characters tend to have separate sets of sprites with a wide range of poses and expressions depending on the intensity of their emotions (ie. Simply being angry vs thrown into a rage) which not only help carry the weight of the voice-overs, but also the overall tone that the scene is setting up. An issue I had with these is that certain expressions make the characters look like they have a bad case of pinkeye. Also, due to the game placing most character sprites in a way that shows the height difference between them, a certain tall character that later shows up will appear awkwardly cut off.
Multiple playthroughs become a chore as the skip feature isn’t instant and will attempt to play back every single string of dialogue and its corresponding transitions/animations, making the game hang and lag constantly. There’s also no kind of map available to skip around to whatever part of the story you’re interested in revisiting, which would be handy in a situation like this. It doesn’t help that certain segments of the game have multiple choices that give you the exact same dialogue that a choice you’ve done in a previous playthrough gave you. There’s also the scene skip feature, which instantly lets you skip large segments of the story, but this doesn’t really solve the issue as there’s no way for the player to know whether any of the choices that they’re about to skip entirely are beneficial to getting a different ending or not. The game does give you multiple options to remedy this, such as using quick saves, saves, or even loading the previous scene through the backlog, but it still makes it feel like a hassle and ruins the whole experience of sticking by your choices until the end.
During my playthrough, a game update was available (which was made publicly available on June 7th), but it didn’t fix any of these issues at all.
Due to the nature of this game, it’s best to play it in handheld mode to easily lower the volume because lewd sounds and Iruka’s irritating screaming happen unexpectedly all too often. If you happen to live with your parents, roommates, or if your room has thin walls, I’d recommend you either play it while wearing a pair of headphones or just mute the voice level altogether.
With the promise of an interesting premise and a heavy helping of anime trope antics, the story of the game falls short due to its execution. It’s a jarring mess as it tries to take either a comedic or serious tone, then smack itself against a wall to trade places with the other. Some of the characters might have things that the player can relate to, yet most of them are just outright annoying and unlikable. Most of the music feels similar to one another and cheesy at times, making up a rather forgettable soundtrack. The supbar sound effects makes certain events that occur later in the game feel downplayed or outright out of place. The lack of an actual progress bar to keep track of your bonds with your colleagues and other quality of life features makes future playthroughs and unlocking the other endings more of a hassle than it has to be.
If you have around 50 hours to spare and want a story that feels like an unintentional attempt at a parody and don’t mind when things feel like they’re dragging on forever this might be the visual novel for you. Otherwise, steer clear of it.
Fun fact: Did you know that the initials of this game spell out OWIE?
+ Beautiful CG artwork
+ Interesting premise
- A forgettable soundtrack
- Bugs and typos
- Lack of variety in character sprite poses
- Terrible story execution
The visual presentation is great for the most part, but some designs and illustrations look a bit rough around the edges despite the attention to detail that most of the Asakusa locations get. The soundtrack and sound effects, on the other hand, are pretty forgettable. The endless trail of typos and bugs gives off the impression that this game was really rushed out. At the very least, it did manage to make me laugh once.
It has almost everything you'd expect a visual novel game to have, such as backlogs, multiple saves, and choices. What's keeping its gameplay from a perfect score is the lack of certain QoL elements, like relationship progress bars, a map to easily jump from one point of the story to the next and back, and having too many choices that yield the same dialogue result.
If the story's execution didn't click with you, then you'll probably be disappointed and feel like it was a big waste of time. The game feels like it's tailored for an incredibly niche audience. One playthrough will probably be enough for most players.
out of 10
(not an average)
The clashing tones and reoccurring issues make for one messy game that just ends up feeling pretty mediocre in comparison to most visual novels out there. With a couple of changes, this game could have been slightly average at best.